24 July 2012

PATAS pricing

As readers will know, especially if they read the Miss Feezance blog as well as this one, if Barnet Council are unwilling to accept your appeal you can go, at the end of the process, to PATAS, the Parking & Traffic Appeals Service, to argue your case and it doesn't cost you a bean.

Barnet's bean-counters won't like it though as it costs them a whole heap of beans, which reduces the "profit", probably called a surplus to make it sound better, on the Special Parking Account.

The costs of PATAS, which is run by London Councils, have 2 elements. A fixed cost so that a building, staff, computer system etc can be in place and then a variable element which is paid each time an appeal is decided. The variable cost broadly pays for the parking adjudicators who are all legally qualified (and must by now know every arcane little detail about parking). The fixed cost is base on the number of parking tickets issued 2 years ago so that the numbers from year 1 can be calculated towards the end of year 2 to set the figures for year 3. 

London Councils publish the figures in their minutes and they are on their website. Mr Mustard has received copy invoices for the year just ended in order to double-check them.

The fixed cost for Barnet for the year to 31 March 2012 is £71,019 based upon 143,386 tickets having been issued in the year to March 2010 and 49.53p out of each one going to the fixed costs of the final appeal system; let's call it 50p to fixed costs. Every ticket Barnet Council have to cancel costs them 50p in addition to their own wasted time in-house.

The variable cost is £46.73 for every appeal decided upon in the year. In the year ended March 12 there were 1,548 cases decided for which Barnet Council ( on behalf of you and me ) had to pay £72,338

Together with a few sundry charges the total invoiced by PATAS to Barnet Council was £146,872

Dividing this by the 1,548 cases gives an average overall cost of £94.87 per ticket. As the average ticket income is £98 ( a weighted average of bus lane, higher and lower level penalties ) for Barnet Council to have to pursue you all the way to PATAS is not profitable for them, which is the very reason why you should appeal to the very end.

Barnet Council issue lots of tickets in doubtful circumstances. I see from reading this post on the Barnet Eye that the targeting of Cafe Buzz continued on Saturday and the traffic warden issued a parking ticket whilst still wearing his crash helmet and that is against the rules; he is not properly attired in accordance with the uniform rules. The traffic wardens routinely behave in this wrong way.

The ticket should be challenged on that basis in addition to the other reasons that the lady had to stop there, perhaps to set down or pick up her passengers. The observing bloggers probably suggested some grounds to her?

The whole parking system racket is heavily weighted against the motorist. Let's start to level the playing field out a bit. Only 1% of people keep appealing to the very end and reach PATAS. As PATAS reverse 50% of Barnet's decisions then if we could get the 1% up to 2% there would be another 750 happy people in Barnet and a £100,000 hole in the special parking account. Getting to 2% is only the first step. 

If absolutely everyone appealed to PATAS the systems of NSL, Barnet Council and PATAS would all come to a grinding halt and a review might be undertaken of the necessity to issue quite so many parking tickets. 

They are not about keeping traffic flowing and making sure that fire engines can get through. They are just a money-grubbing scheme to fleece the motorist and fill the coffers of the town hall. They also have the effect of snuffing out trade in our High Streets; Barnet Council are promoting their own short-term gain at the cost of long-term decline but they are so blinkered that they cannot see it.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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